C2 S1600 driver Kris Meeke takes control for Citroen Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson (Citroen C2 Super 1600) have emerged from the first day of Wales Rally GB action clear at the top of the overnight JWRC leaderboard thanks to a score of five ...
C2 S1600 driver Kris Meeke takes control for Citroen
Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson (Citroen C2 Super 1600) have emerged from the first day of Wales Rally GB action clear at the top of the overnight JWRC leaderboard thanks to a score of five fastest times from today's six stages. Only a puncture on SS1 has troubled his otherwise first class run so far. Kris Meeke's extensive knowledge of his home event was of no help first thing this morning when he dropped close to a minute to his principal rivals: "You just can't drive 100% here! The WRC cars that start the stages before we arrive tend to drag big rocks onto the road and you need to be on your guard all the time to avoid picking up a puncture. Unfortunately, I found that out the hard way and I will now have to push very hard if I want to get back into the fight."
The driver of the N42 Citroen C2 Super 1600 clearly managed to put the incident quickly behind him however since he went on to put in an assertive run of fastest times on every one of the days five remaining tests. "The wet weather and the fact that the WRC cars are running ahead of us on the road made the conditions extremely treacherous but Glenn, who turned 31 today, and I have had a pretty good day today. The lead we have built up this evening should enable us to go into tomorrow's leg with much of the pressure off and we won't have to take so many risks. That said, we will have to stay very concentrated, otherwise even the smallest error could end up being costly."
The other JWRC Citroen C2 Super 1600 runner here in Great Britain is Wales Rally GB novice Aaron Burkart. He and his co-driver Kevin Zemanik are this evening 7th in the category after spending the day familiarising themselves with the Welsh stages. It's also been a day of learning for Juho Hanninen and Marko Sallinen who are not competing within the framework of the championship. The 25-year old Finn has profited from the day to accustom himself to the Citroen C2 Super 1600 which he is driving for the first time. "I'm impressed by its handling but I haven't yet managed to explore its limits. After my recent outings in a 4x4 Group N car, switching to a front-wheel drive machine is not so easy and I need to find my marks. My target today was to get a feel for the both car and the stages, but I think I should be able to start upping the pace a little tomorrow."
It's been a less successful first leg on the other hand for Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek and their Jipocar Racing-tended Citroen C2 Super 1600. They too are competing outside of the framework of the JWRC and dropped more than 7 minutes in the day's opening test following a puncture and then a spin. Happily, the rest of the day went much better for the Czech driver who was able to post times close to those of the top JWRC runners. Finally, Fabien Fiandino and his co-driver Sabrina De Castelli have had a trouble-free day as they have concentrated on coming to terms with the specific challenge of the British round.
"The stages are wet and the grip changes all the time," remarked the Citroen C2-R2 driver in Swansea this evening. Like Hanninen and Prokop, he is not officially entered for the JWRC here and he currently figures 13th in Class A6.